4 June 2009

What’s New in SEO for 2009?

New in SEO
Let’s start with a “profound statement.” We build websites for two audiences: humans and search engines. Often marketers are only focused on the human audience (after all, they are the buyers). But, it’s important to implement best practices that address the search engine audience. We have to balance the art of addressing both humans and search engines.

Search engines have “eyes.” Their eyes are their algorithm. Google’s algorithm is believed to increased from 130 variables to about 200 variables. Many of the new SEO variables include….

The basic SEO fundamentals are still important including: strong title tags representing the theme of the page, efficient code, well laid out architecture with human readable URLs, great content, link popularity (internal and external) and of course well written meta data including alt tags and title attributes.

Inbound links have always been important to Google. But, outbound links are also important. Google scores your website when they crawl your site. One factor they look for is the extent to which you link to external website to relevant content. You are penalized by not linking to relevant content that gives your visitor a good experience. Not doing so is perceived as selfish.

Webmasters often use a rel=no follow attribute (or tag) for links that don’t go to relevant content so the link doesn’t drain link juice. If you link to your partners and otherwise relevant business associates, you don’t want to use the no-follow tag. Google is looking for you to share the link love with relevant content.

When Google sees many links outgoing from images or bullets they can be perceived as paid links resulting in a scoring penalty. Google wants to see editorial links anchored from a series of two or three words embedded (editorially) in a sentence. Google is programmed to flag and penalize single word links and images.

Google can already index 18 file types. They are looking to see that you offer great experiences for website visitors. It is speculated that Google is giving more scoring to rich media content including photos and soon video. Audio is not yet indexable by search engines. However, video files are believed to soon be indexable by Google. You can submit a video sitemap file through webmaster tools. (though I didn’t refer to the sitemap file submission in the podcast).

Another factor being considered is social attributes. Google Friend Connect was launched in December 2008. It is an indication of how Google wants to see websites offer social attributes.

The complexity of Google’s algorithm is growing and evolving. We believe many new variables will roll out throughout 2009. Stay tuned on this…

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